Friday, March 26, 2010

EPL Handicapping: The Beauty of Relegation

By El Chupa

There will be some great football this weekend in the EPL.  Here are some matches to watch and why:

Villa at Chelsea
(10:45 A.M. EDT ESPN Classic) - Chelsea absolutely need three points to stay in the running with Arsenal and Man U for the league title. They also will want revenge for the loss at Villa Park early in the season. Villa are looking to secure a spot next season in Europe in either the Champions or Europa leagues and need three points if they hope to steal the fourth spot in the league from Spurs. Villa have given up fewer goals on the road than at home this season, and they are tied with Man U for the fewest GA in the league (25). If anyone in the league can keep Chelsea and Drogba at bay for 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge, its the Villains.  Punters should avoid this one, however, or throw the dice for the draw or maybe the under.  The odds on Chelsea aren't worth it.

Fulham at Hull City (6 P.M. Fox Soccer Channel; delayed )- Given how superior a team they are to the Tigers, Fulham is being given odds that look generous at first glance (+220) .  But Fulham is out of contention for the top seven in the league and are playing on the road against a team fighting to avoid relegation.  If Fulham shows up, this should be a fierce contest.  But if you think the Tigers are going to fight like hell against a team already thinking about the beaches of Spain, Hull at +140 is not a bad punt.

Everton at Wolves (5:00 P.M. EDT Fox Soccer Plus; delayed) - Everton have an outside chance at the fourth spot in the league, and certainly are looking to make it to the Europa league at worst.  But they need points every time out from now until the end of the season to do so.  Wolves, on the other hand, are in danger of relegation, and they need points just to survive--especially at home.  Everton are the superior side by far.  But they will be without Donovan, and it will be interesting to see if the Toffees continue to surge without the American star whose arrival coincided with the revival of the team's fortunes.  We like Everton at +105, but it's not a sure thing against a Wolves team whose last three games have gone quite well and who have their backs to the wall.

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